Cannes: History

Pearl of the French Riviera

Cannes History

With so much glitz and glamour, it is easy to forget that Cannes first was a simple tiny fishing village for centuries before developing into a resort in the 19th century. Named after the canes and reeds of the surrounding marshes, Cannes was first put on the map in 1834 by retired British Chancellor Lord Brougham. Whilst 3,000 fisherfolk and farmers of Cannes were going about their business, Brougham and his ailing daughter were forced to stop in the village and checked into its one and only hotel because a cholera epidemic in France had closed the border with Savoy who was forced to stop in Cannes. As they waited, Lord Brougham was so seduced by the warm climate and scenery that he abandoned his former plans and built a villa here where he subsequently spent every winter, singing the praises of Cannes to his most distinguished compatriots. Soon gentry and royalty followed his example by the hundreds. Grand hotels sprang up along the waterfront and by the end of the century, Cannes had become the ‘aristocracy’s winter lounge’.